Seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary

Last week one of my favourite bloggers, Mark Beeson, hit a theme that resonated with me. Mark is the pastor of a large church in Indiana, but is also a wildlife photographer and, uh, hunts. He’s often asked why he spends so much time outdoors and encourages all his family to do the same: he argues that what you learn in the wilderness is far more important for healthy emotional growth and development than much of what is on offer in society today, in which there is a growing ‘arousal addiction’ that increasingly affects many young people. You can read the full piece here.

Mark’s article struck a chord for a couple of reasons. I’ve often thought that in the UK in the 21st century we could entertain ourselves to death, as there’s so much available to amuse and distract us from facing reality. I’d also been planning a post which aimed to focus on seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary, and the two themes seemed to come together. All of which leads me to want to share an eclectic mix of ordinary photos.

Orange Parodia flower, as it was opening

I recently was doing a short proofreading contract, which required working from home. One morning I noticed a flower on one of my cacti slowly open out. I’d never witnessed this before while it was happening, and was struck by the slow motion drama.

I’ve discovered that gardening can take longer than it needs to, as there’s wildlife to be discovered. Clearing out one bed revealed a rich collection of small garden snails with an array of differing colours; although they may all be the same species (see this Garden safari page).

The yard has an unexpected resident that reappears every so often; if he’s around next spring I might trap him and cart him to a more frog-friendly environment.

A resident of the yard; and an array of garden snails

Earlier in the summer, while clearing up some leaves, I was surprised to find some small, round, green and black beetles scuttling around. Because of their shape, I wondered about whether they were some unusual type of ladybird. I checked in my insect book to ascertain what they were, but without success. Not sure how else to find out what they were, I ended up googling ‘green and black beetle’ – and discovered that they were  the nymphs of the shield bug, a comparatively common insect. I was astonished at how different the nymph is to the adult – and began to appreciate something of the complexity of insect life.

Shield bug – nymph and adult

I’ve often talked about the wonders of God’s creation revealed in the magnificence of the universe – but there is an intricate beauty to each of these little creatures which reveals another aspect of God’s creativity.

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